Category Archives: Concepts

Ideas & Concepts,

A Reminder for Myself and Other Instructors

A lot of times, we take our own repetitions for granted.  As we're teaching, it's easy to become frustrated with students that "just aren't getting it."  And since I'm a nobody, instructor-wise, I get a lot of students that are prone to "just not getting it."  A lot of the top level national guys get students who've trained at a high level before.  And so it's easy to have a line full of switched-on guys that have already built tens of thousands of reps.  We come to those national guys, most of the time, with years if not decades of firearms experience. As a student on their lines, I love that.  We aren't held up by a number of students who are just really slow to pick up some basic concept that we started workin on 20 years ago.  And as a student, it's really easy to get frustrated with "that person" in the class.  You know the one.  The Private Pyles of the class.  We've all seen it.  We've all been frustrated by it. But today, I've had a stark lesson in why we should never let that frustration show, and really, should soften our thinking on it. I

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Running the Irons.

Iron sights have been part of shooting since the very least April 19th 1775. Aiming was a major part of our tactics that helped defeat the British unaimed volley fire. This being said, it should come as no surprise that we have learned, used, and lost uses for iron sights in all environments from jungles, deserts and even the frozen landscapes of Siberia. I am going to talk about a few of those techniques here. First anyone ever wonder why there are 2 apertures on the M16/AR15 platform? Most people have looked and wondered but never cared. Some wondered then tried switching between the two and found no gain from it. There is a reason for it but first we need to talk about sight alignment. Photo courtesy of FMJ Armory, LaGrange, GA TC 3-22.9 states “sight alignment is the relationship between the aiming device and the firer’s eye. To achieve proper and effective aim, the focus of the firer’s eye needs to be on the front sight post or reticle. The Soldier must maintain sight alignment throughout the aiming process.” It goes on to say for iron sights it is the “the relationship between the

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Malfunctions

We are continuing our discussion on Control. Specifically, we will be addressing how to handle malfunctions, which is a particular part of the shot process that was not addressed under the fundamentals. Our Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. A malfunction is anything that occurs to interrupt the cycle of function of the weapon. The TC describes it as: “The Soldier controls which actions must be taken to ensure the [threat] is defeated as quickly as possible based on secondary weapon availability and capability, and the level of threat presented by the range of the [threat] and its capability.” This means that the Paratrooper needs to determine how to most effectively neutralize the threat based on their assessment. They do this in one of three ways: Their secondary weapon to can eliminate the threat, their secondary weapon cannot eliminate the threat, or they have no secondary weapon to transition too. We will discuss each of these separately. If the Paratrooper has a secondary weapon, and they believe they can neutralize the threat with it, they will transition to that weapon. Secondary weapons are usually a pistol for an M240 Gunner or the M4 Carbine

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Understanding the AR-15 Gas System

The AR-15 Direct Gas Impingement System is a rather straight forward system to understand. When the weapon is fired, gas travels down the barrel behind the bullet. As it passes the gas port, it is diverted into the Front Sight Base (FSB) or Gas Block into a gas tube which carries it into the bolt carrier key. Once the gas arrives at the key, it dumps the gas into a chamber causing the bolt carrier to move rearward.                                              (Elements of the gas system) Gassing starts in the chamber with the round of ammunition. This means that ammunition selection is important. Ammunition may be loaded to either .223 specs or 5.56 NATO specs. Ammunition produced with poor quality control can affect the operation of the weapon. From here we move to the gas port. The gas port is very important to the overall function of the rifle. In the military world this is virtually a non-issue since gas ports are standardized. In the commercial/civilian world a manufacturer can gas their barrel anyway they want. One of the first things

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Follow Through With the M4 and M4A1

We are continuing our discussion on control. Specifically we will be addressing Follow-through for the M4 and M4A1 platforms. The Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1 dated January 2017. The M4 series weapon has a variable trigger weight due to the burst trigger control group. The weight can vary as much as three to eight pounds depending upon where the sear is at in the burst cycle. So how do we compensate for that variable trigger pull? The answer is follow-through. Follow-through is the continued application of the shot process until after the shot has been fired. This means that the Paratrooper keeps applying the elements of the shot process until the weapon ceases movement from the recoil pulse. A practical application of follow-through is keeping the head in the same position, firing eye (or both eyes open, in the case of the CCO and RCO), and holds the trigger back until the recoil pulse ceases, then lets off enough to allow the trigger to reset. Body position remains the same, and breathing is either steady or held, depending upon the conditions of the particular shot. There are nine components to follow-through, they are Recoil Management, Recoil

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Slaughtering Sacred Linguistic Marksmanship Cows: Following up “Clickbait”

Author’s note: Context is important. The previous post here was intended for the military audience. Judging by things I’ve seen from others it may be applicable to law enforcement entities as well. Without experience based frame of reference it may be tough to get the reasoning in these posts. Nothing personal, just putting it up front. The intent was spur conversation. In that vein, the post seems to have been successful. Was the initial statement and title misleading? Maybe. Was it clickbait? Maybe. Did it get people to read, use critical thinking skills, and discuss? One comment answered that for me: “I shared this article on my personal blog FB page, which is populated by soldiers I served with who wouldn't normally read an article about the profession. Within an hour, it was read by multiple people who would otherwise not give a professional circular this sort of attention. Now they are thinking, and they've been exposed to a higher concept.  The "clickbait" worked. I'll take it.” Note to self- don’t make a habit of doing things that can be considered clickbait. There were a few comments saying it’s semantics. So let’s look at the definition of semantics. Source is

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Thermal Boresighting

We are continuing our discussion on the Boresight. Specifically, we will be boresighting thermals. The reference for this is TM 9-5860-226-13&P dated August 2007. The boresight needs to be zeroed to the weapon prior to zeroing anything else. To learn how to zero the Laser Boresight, and why it is important to do this, reference the TTP article post prior. Thermals are handled slightly differently than the primary optic for the weapon. To set up the weapon for thermals, you will get in as stable a platform as possible. Once that has been accomplished, you will then have to give the Paratrooper on the weapon a refined point of aim to see the aim point with. If I were to just use a sheet of paper, there would be nothing there to indicate to the paratrooper where the point of aim is. To give them a refined point of aim, the Paratrooper at the Target holds their fingers on the two ovals flanking the aim point on the offset target.  Two people are required for this: the Paratrooper on the weapon, the Paratrooper Making adjustments on the thermal, and the Paratrooper at the target. The process starts by the Paratrooper on

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Standard Qualification for the M4

We are going to start a discussion on qualification standards. Specifically, we are going to address what the standard is for qualification with the M4. The references for this is TC 3-22.9, change 1 dated January 2017. Appendix F of TC 3-22.9 Change 1 states that “The 25-meter scaled target alternate course is used when a standard record fire or KD range is unavailable for weapon qualification.” What is the definition of ‘unavailable?’ For the purposes of this discussion and in general, ‘unavailable' means no pop-up qualification range exists at the duty station. So if we have a place like Fort Bragg, where there are multiple pop-up ranges, but you are unable to schedule it due to a lack of previous planning, does that still count as ‘unavailable?’ The answer is no. Paratroopers need to qualify on the standard qualification range. This will build confidence in their ability to engage targets past 25 meters, which is all they are getting with the ALT-C target. Units need to incorporate the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy into their unit training plan in order to be able to plan successfully and utilize the six qualification ranges on Fort Bragg efficiently. Moreover, it is important

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Rates of Fire for the M4 and M4A1

We are continuing our discussion on control. Specifically we will be addressing the rates of fire for the M4 and M4A1 platforms. The Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1 dated January 2017. The Paratrooper needs to determine what rate of fire meets the needs of their specific engagement. Just as each threat is different, each shooting technique is slightly different in their applications. There are three rates of fire that we will discuss: Slow Semiautomatic fire, Rapid Semiautomatic fire, and automatic or burst fire. We will discuss each one of these in sequence. Slow semiautomatic fire is fires typically used in a training environment or when the Paratrooper has time to take a well-aimed shot. Examples of this are when the squad is engaging targets in the defense past 300 meters. The rate of fire for this is 12 to 15 rounds per minute, approximately one round every 4-5 seconds. This rate of fire is also used in a training environment to allow the Paratrooper to focus on their shot process. Rapid Semiautomatic fire is approximately 45 rounds per minute. It is typically used for multiple targets or when the soldier is within 300 meters of the

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Low Power Variable Optics

We will be discussing optics, and what trends there are in the civilian market that may carry over to the military force modernization efforts. One of the biggest trends in the optics market for firearms the past few years has been in Low-Power Variable Optics. For the Definition of this discussion, a low-power variable optic is a scope that is a 1-6 or 1-8 power scope, that has very little parallax. A Low Power Variable optic, such as the Leupold Mk VI 1-6 gives the Paratrooper the capability of engagements from near to far. For day-to-day use, the optic is left on 1x, and as needed, the Paratrooper can dial up the magnification to be able to reach out and engage targets more efficiently. Moreover, there has been improvements in reticle technology. We now have reticles available similar to the one presented in the above picture, that allow the Paratrooper to apply a more precise hold for both wind calls and moving targets. A simplified ‘christmas tree,’ like in picture two, makes it possible for consistent shot placement. When you couple this reticle with a first focal plane scope, it makes the reticle change scale based off the magnification selected.

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